CRL complaint laid against 'Afrikaans only' residence

2017-03-23 22:59
(File, Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

(File, Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Johannesburg – A complaint has been lodged with the CRL Rights Commission about a private Afrikaans-only at the University of Pretoria.

“We believe it is against the Constitution and one cannot have a residence for the exclusive use of one race group only,” the complainants, Yusuf Abramjee and Mantoa Selepe, said in a statement on Thursday.

They called on the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities to investigate the De Goede Hoop residence.  

“Other race groups are clearly being deprived and the policy is simply a disguise to say: ‘Whites only’.”

The privately-owned residence opened its doors to Christian, Afrikaans-speaking students in February, after the university revised its language policy in October 2016. It adopted English as the language of instruction. Previously it had been both English and Afrikaans.

Facility co-ordinator Janli Sonntag told Radio 702 the aim was to preserve Christian values and Afrikaans culture. She rejected claims that its policy was discriminatory.

She said other students on campus had recently targeted Afrikaans-speaking students because of their language and accused them of being racist.

The residence, she said, was a place where Afrikaans students could "feel safe and passionate about their language, not be victimised or mocked, where they can feel at home".

Sonntag insisted that the residence's policy was not racist and could not be compared to apartheid.

The residence's policy has sparked calls on social media for the SA Human Rights Commission to investigate it.

University spokesperson Candice Jooste said they had no control of the residence’s policy as it was privately-owned.

"The university does not condone accommodation facilities that use race as a selection criteria," she said.

* This story has been updated to remove a tweet

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  pretoria

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